Cable is no longer the top product at America’s largest cable company.
For the first time ever, Comcast has more high-speed Internet TV customers than paid-TV subscribers, a company executive said on a Monday earnings call.
The change in Comcast’s business mirrors larger shifts in the way consumers keep up with their favorite shows. Americans — particularly young ones — are increasingly ditching cable TV subscriptions, opting instead for online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime Video. Several cable networks, including HBO and CBS, have responded by launching online-only platforms of their own. Other cord-cutter friendly options, like Dish Network’s SlingTV, are also changing the TV landscape.
The shift from traditional TV to online streaming partially explains why federal regulators signaled they would block Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. Together, the two companies would have controlled almost 60% of the country’s broadband Internet, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission — a concern for regulators, politicians and customers alike, as less competition tends to lower services’ quality and affordability. Comcast ultimately decided to abandon its plans to merge with TWC, leaving the latter company a valuable merger target for other telecom companies.